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Fiji inks revised MSG Trade Agreement that covers services and investment

Fiji initialled the newest version of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Free Trade Agreement at a meeting between Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the chairperson of the MSG and Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare in Suva today.

Bainimarama said the new agreement 'marks a new era for the MSG and will lay a solid economic foundation suited to address a number of emerging issues' faced by the four MSG countries - Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the FLNKS in New Caledonia.

The new MSG Trade Agreement was re-negotiated over two years. "Our re-negotiated agreement is stronger, clearer, more accommodating and more co-operative than ever before."

"This new agreement will be the first time that Fiji is making commitments in services and investment under a regional trade agreement. This is because we believe in the citizens of each of our countries and we believe in our collective potential, said Bainimarama.

He said the 'trust and faith we place on our fellow MSG countries is unrivalled.'

'Though we are small nations, we are seizing the opportunity to control our own collective destiny as much as we can - to advance by our own efforts, by the strength of our own will, and by the power and ingenuity of our own people.

Bainimarama told the visiting MSG Chair that member countries have the right to be extremely proud of their commitments to the revised trade agreement.

He urged Solomon Islands to sign up to the trade agreement and offered Fiji's assistance with the transition to implement provisions of the new trade agreement.

"We look forward to the Solomon Islands joining us as well, so that goods can flow freely across our borders and our people can all enjoy competitive pricing, greater exports and greater selection of goods and services within our economies.

The Fijian leader said the historic signing of the trade agreement is a clear reflection of the unity and strength of the MSG sub regional group.

"We can never be certain of what is to come, but united behind this agreement, I can say confidently that the MSG will be ready for whatever challenges we have yet to face, said Bainimarama.

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